DAGUPAN CITY — At least 11 confessed drug users/runners, two of them women, all from Barangay Panta; here, surrendered to Mayor Belen T. Fernandez at the city museum on Friday.
Thee suspects surrendered on the day she signed Executive Order No. 20 establishing the Task Force “Disiplina” in line with the peace and order thrust of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
Accompanied by former Barangay Captain Felipe Maramba, the 11 suspects were welcomed by Mayor Fernandez and Police Chief Christopher Abrahano at the city museum.
Abrahano, however, disclosed that those who voluntarily surrender to the authorities will still have to sign an undertaking that they will forever stop using drugs and serving as runners of people pushing illegal drugs.
They must also submit themselves voluntarily for drug testing and rehabilitation if found positive and subject to periodic monitoring by the authorities.
“If their intention is to voluntarily surrender to escape or delay prosecution and arrest, we will not give them that luxury and for those who have a pending warrant of arrest before the courts it would be best for them to surrender to avoid a violent arrest,” said Abrahano.
The suspects are reportedly engaged in using illegal and used by pushers as their runners in their illegal activities and only forced to do this out of poverty.
Some others have been accustomed to the habit of using drugs. They decided to surrender out of fear for their lives because of the somewhat unorthodox policy of the new President in fighting criminality especially the sale and use of illegal drugs.
Mayor Fernandez, in her meeting with the suspects, promised to extend assistance to them by helping them to have an alternative livelihood as most of them have been engaged in drug running as their means of livelihood.
“That is why I am here to meet them to personally assess their sincerity in changing a new leaf. For those who will voluntarily subject themselves to rehabilitation, we will donate some amount for their expenses,” said Fernandez.
Fernandez said that with the enforcement of Executive Order No. 20 effective July 1, the city has started giving warnings to those whose names are in the drug lists.
“I am happy that our counterparts in the barangays like Punong Barangay Rico Mejia of Bonuan Gueset are already working on giving warnings to all the drug users and pushers in their area. We appreciate their show of cooperation and for those who are still on the run it would be best that they surrender but if they surrender they have to promise not to do it again,” said Fernandez.
“What is good with what is happening today is that because of the firm order of the President against illegal drugs these people are now surrendering to us and this is helping us a lot in curving the problem on illegal drugs,” the mayor added.
PDEA Pangasinan also helped in the processing of the suspects’ voluntary surrender. PNA / northboundasia.com